ECP is officially opened for business, and ladies and gentleman, if you didn’t get to take a trip down to the new Northwest Florida International Airport this weekend, you missed one heck of a gala, complete with live music, food, a marching band and a pep rally-style arrival for those lucky few who were first to arrive at the new airport .
Big names were in attendance for the big weekend long event, including governor Charlie Crist, Senator George LeMieux, Senator Ben Nelson and other state an local dignitaries. There was even an invitation to President Obama.
Dan Rowe, president and CEO of Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, in a recent article, said of the event, “There has been tremendous buzz and excitement around the opening of the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and I’m personally thrilled the day has arrived.”
The stunning, $318 million facility, built on approximately 1,300 acres of a 4,000-acre site, is the first airport built in nearly 15 years and was designed to achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
As of Sunday, Southwest Airlines is operating daily nonstop service to/from Baltimore, Houston, Nashville and Orlando and Delta Air Lines is servicing the destination with daily nonstop flights to/from Atlanta and Memphis.
“The Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport’s terminal features seven gates, an Audubon Environmental Kiosk, two restaurants, two retail shops, business center, regional information center and seven car rental ticketing counters which include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.
The airport anchors the city’s 75,000-acre West Bay Sector Plan that designates 41,000 acres for perpetual conservation of the shoreline, adjacent wetlands and the watershed of West Bay. One of the largest conservation areas in Florida, the sector will be available for non-intrusive recreational activities such as kayaking, fishing, birding and hiking. Audubon of Florida is planning a Nature Center on part of the site.
Read more about the airport here.